I have a good 2005 year PC (HP d4100Y: 3 GB RAM, 3.0 GHz Dual Core CPU, 400 watt PSU) GeForce 6600 video card (PCIe), and 19 inch high end CRT monitor. So far it all has performed very well, and with newer games like Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life 2 it performs quite well.
But on latest games like Left 4 Dead or Call of Duty 4 the vanilla 6600 does well up to the point that there is too much data to process, such as when you're attacked by a zombie horde. I know I can turn down the video quality etc (which is currently at a medium setting) but I'd rather not compromise on the video quality.
I don't want to get a new PC or monitor for a while yet, unless something seriously breaks down. But I'd like to maybe get a new video card that will clean up the stutters at peak performance demands.
Could someone please recommend some good video cards? And what is the best yet compatible card I can now put in my computer?
How much do you to have to spend? If you are on a cheap budget and don't want to upgrade further, I'd reccomend an ATI 4670. It's the best card you can get right now without needing a beefy power supply. It should give you performance similar to a 9600gt, so quite a jump for you. Also, if you did decide to upgrade say your monitor, they are coming down, I know someone who just recently snagged a 22 inch lcd for 140 bucks. I went from a 19 inch crt to a 22 inch and its awesome .
I don't think you're mobo will be compatible with PCI 2.0 express cards - I might be wrong though because I don't know what kind of mobo you have. If you only have a PCI 1x slot then there won't be that many options around, but with a 16x slot (which I assume it is due to your 6600) there are a number of quicker cards than the 6600. These include the 3800 series and the 2600 series ATI cards and some of the 8000 and 9000 Nvidia cards. Just make sure they are compatible with your mobo
If it's PCI express 16x, then your mobo should be able to handle any card out there. But if I'm not mistaken everything is backward compatible, IE you should be able to have a PCI express 2.0 card in a 1.0 or 16x slot and not have trouble.
22 LCDs are nice but they have their problems compared to the CRT and if your fine with it just hold out for a while, there will be better displays on the market anyway.
I would seriously consider a complete upgrade in the near future. The Pentium D CPUs are pretty slow compared to a lot of the newer C2Ds and even some older AMD64 x2s.
You have a PCI-E x16 slot which is compatible with the PCI-E 2.0 slots and performance wise there is little to no difference.
^ +1 on that - a new system on the cheap with a cheap Intel dual core like an E5200 or E7400, or a cheap AMD dual core like a 6000, a 7750 kuma or even a X3 phenom II 720, new mobo and new PCI 2.0 GPU for $60-80 might serve you well if you are willing to do this. It will probably be more financially sound as you're current system doesn't have that much room for upgrades in the future any way. Sorry bout the PCI thing - forgot the legacy aspect with those slots - so you should be fine with a PCI 2.0 like ravenware says- just remember that the older slots will bottle neck higher end cards, so I wouldn't spend over $150 on a card for you're current pc, probably more like $60-80 dollars for a decent increase in performance that is balanced with you're pentium CPU.
Thanks for all the input. From what I can read, the 4670 looks like a solid choice...powerful yet affordable. But I am curious why nobody mentioned the GeForce 9600 GT, which is a bit higher, but AFAICT is much more robust.